Clariant recently teamed up with two other innovative companies to use the latest technology in laser marking and holography to capture important societal trends affecting consumer behavior. The high-tech graphics are rendered on molded plastic chips in ColorForward 2016, the latest edition of Clariant’s groundbreaking trend analysis and color-design tool.
"Even though these technologies are not directly connected to the use of color in plastics," explains Joanna Marguier, Color Scientist, Clariant ColorWorks Europe/IMEA, "it is important for us to be on the lookout for any innovations that can stimulate creative thinking."
The ColorForward trend analysis and color design tool is released annually to help plastic product designers and marketing professionals make more informed color choices. Each edition of ColorForward presents four global societal trends that can be expected to influence consumers in the near future, and connects them to colors that evoke an emotional response related to each trend.
Past editions of ColorForward have used texture, smell, special effects and other aesthetic elements to render colors more imaginatively. For 2016, the Clariant specialists decided to use holograms and laser marking in two of the four trend themes.
Morphotonix is a company created by a group of post-graduate researchers at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland that developed micro-technology to etch mold surfaces to create diffractive and nano-patterns that are then transferred to molded articles where they appear as holographic and invisible security features. Because it can be seamlessly integrated in the production of injection-molded plastic parts, the Clariant ColorWorks specialists decided it was perfect for one of the ColorForward color chips in the 2016 trend theme called Oh, my go(l)d!.
This theme, an unapologetic tribute to excess, celebrates the fact that, like it or not, outlandish, gaudy baubles and outrageous behavior are "in". The chip is made in a brilliant black color called "All nights are ours" and has a molded-in Morphotonix hologram that shows stars swirling in the shape of the Clariant 'C' logo. It also includes dozens of dollar signs that are laser etched in the surface of the chip along with a profile of a rubber duck (an element from ColorForward 2015 that has become the group's official mascot) and the notation "1 Million Duck Dollars."
Joanna Marguier explains that "the hologram gives a shiny, kitschy vibe to the color. It reminds me of a poker chip and this is all definitely in line with the bling-bling of OMG. Part of the purpose of ColorForward is to stimulate creativity in a fun way – here we do even more: we integrate an innovative look and anti-counterfeiting features that are obtained straight out of the injection line. Also, we are always interested in exploring, with our customers, the broader aspects of plastics technology so it can be used to make products and packaging more successful in the marketplace."
ColorForward goes high-tech for 2016